Charming Snakes

Charming Snakes
Ammunition (2005, Dirtnap)

I know rock’n’roll is supposed to be the foundation of “loud, fast, and out of control” music, but I’m just not hearing it here. While not as heavy or snarly as some of their label mates, the Charming Snakes still spike the post-punk punch with dance party pleasers and lace the cake with Gang Of Four and The Fall influences. The vocals and guitars have just the right amount of treble, and the song structures aren’t anywhere near the 1-2-3-4 formula.

Much like a lot of classic post-punk music, ‘Ammunition’ offers us put-it-on-repeat hits interspersed with tracks that take patience and concentration to enjoy. The leadoff ‘Loon’ jumpstarts the hips, but the title track stalls with it’s overly-tinny guitar lines and vocal effects. ‘Tracks That Lead’ picks things back up again, a rousing rocker that could have been unearthed directly from 1982. ‘Epic Jams’ does what the title says, and while it’s an impressive undertaking, the vocals don’t come in until the 3 minute mark, and the song doesn’t end for several minutes after that. The alternating bursts of fresh air and stale slow-burners continue for most of the disc, and at this point I’m finding it hard to grasp the album as a whole. Normally I give kudos to diversity, but I can’t help but think this 10 song album would’ve made 2 better EPs, one with 5 ripping numbers and another with 5 pulsing, sonic punk jams to please a different crowd.

mp3: Ammunition

-Mark Hughson 9-12-05

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